Mono Green Stompy for Pioneer
Hey guys, it’s David back with another Pioneer deck, this week is Mono Green Aggro. This deck has had a rocky history with the Pioneer format, being one of the top decks on the format’s release, and still falling in the top 10 of meta decks today. The first few waves of bans in Pioneer almost all had at least one card that was meant to reduce the power level of this deck. Its explosive early turns and powerful late game threats combined with consistent card draw make it still a very formidable threat. Of the cards currently banned in Pioneer, 8 are cards that you would at least consider playing in your green stompy deck. Those cards are Leyline of Abundance, Veil of Summer, Once Upon a Time, Oko Thief of Crowns, Walking Ballista, Uro Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Wilderness Reclamation, and Smuggler's Copter. The goal of the deck is to play cheap mana ramp creatures early and turn the extra mana into big creatures quickly. Today I’ll go through my personal decklist for a Green Stompy deck and point out where some flexible slots are in the deck.
These are the mana ramp options that every mono-green deck should be running in Pioneer. Elvish Mystic and Llanowar Elves are the same card with different names so we can run 8 of the same card. And this card is no slouch either. Letting us play a turn ahead of our opponent from turn 1 is a huge advantage for this deck and will allow some incredibly powerful turn 3 and 4 plays I’ll discuss in a bit. Burning Tree Emissary is a free card as long as you have a follow up play, which could be another Burning Tree Emissary. It also fills an important role of having two green pips to add to our green devotion. Devotion is a mechanic unique to the Theros plane and give us buffs based on how many colored pips we have on cards on the board. Since this deck is entirely a green deck, we can use some powerful devotion payoffs to finish the game extremely quickly. But we need green pips to facilitate this and Burning Tree is the ebay 2 drop for the job. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is one of our devotion payoffs, often tripling or quadrupling our mana output for the turn all by itself.
These are the powerful turn 3 plays that can curve an Elvish Mystic or Llanowar Elf into. The first two here even fill out 3 green pips for our devotion count, pulling double duty for the deck. The main problem that Big Green Dudes has as an archetype is chump blockers so we want to make sure that as many of our big creatures as possible have some form of evasion, often this is trample. Steel Leaf Champion is the best 3 drop of the bunch as it hits the hardest and is incredibly hard to block early in the game. Old Growth Troll can float into another big trample creature as well as ramp up our mana a bit when it dies. Notably, even while it is in aura form it still gives us 3 to our green devotion. Rhonas the Indomitable is our last big impact 3 drop as it grants evasion to our other creatures and acts as a stellar blocker when needed due to his indestructible deathtouch combo. In some decks, it can be tricky to allow him to attack or block, but in this deck it is trivially easy.
The last of what I would consider automatic includes are above. Aspect of Hydra is often a +10/+10 to any creature we want it to be, turning even Elvish Mystics into game winning threats. The Great Henge and Garruk, Caller of Beasts both fill the same roll as ways to keep our hand restocked. Having loads of mana but nothing to spend it on severely hampers the deck and its ability to convert a threatening board into an actual win. Luckily with either of these cards you can draw at least 3 creatures a turn to add to the board. And with a bigger board comes more green devotion and even more mana for even more creatures. From here on, the last 9-10 slots in your deck can be basically whatever you want as long as they are Big Green Dudes.
Here’s what I picked for my deck. It’s important to keep in mind what the deck is trying to do when picking cards for these slots. We want big dudes, lots of devotion, probably trample, and drawing cards. All of these picks do at least one of those things. Worldspine Wurm is notable in that it has an incredibly high casting cost, something that we can still get to with a good hand, but that is entirely circumvented by using Garruk’s -3 ability to just play a green creature from hand. Having at least a few high mana targets for the -3 is good because it is an incredibly powerful ability and it’s possible to activate it as early as turn 3. A Turn 3 15/15 with trample that splits into 3 5/5s with trample is almost impossible to beat by any deck.
And that’s green aggro in Pioneer. Play mana ramp early to play big creatures quickly and overwhelm your opponents. Many of the cards in this list can be swapped out for other picks as you see fit but I’d advise on keeping the core concept of the deck the same. My final note is that this deck loses very hard to a board wipe if you overdevelop. If you sense a board wipe coming, hold onto a few creatures and try to force action from your opponent by applying pressure with what’s on board, then redeploy after the board wipe. Cards that protect your entire field by giving them indestructible can also be used to prevent a board wipe and probably win that very next turn. I’d put these kinds of cards in the sideboard and bring them in against specific matchups, often control decks, since most decks won’t run enough board wipes to make the cut worth it. With all that out of the way, I hope you enjoyed the read and happy stomping!